Chefs' Recipes

Una Más' grilled octopus with fermented chilli

Charred octopus, brought to life with a touch of red chilli sauce.

By Jordan Toft & Andrew Wandless
  • 10 mins preparation
  • 1 hr 40 mins cooking (plus marinating, fermenting)
  • Serves 6
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"The simplicity in the olive oil and crushed garlic means the octopus really takes on a lip-smacking acidity with richness and saltiness to it," says Una Más executive chef Jordan Toft. Start this recipe three days ahead to ferment the sauce and marinate the octopus.

Ingredients

  • 1 kg octopus hand (see note)
  • 5 garlic cloves, bruised
  • ½ thyme, bruised, plus extra to serve
  • 420 ml olive oil
  • Lemon wedges, to serve
Fermented chilli sauce
  • 250 gm long red chillies, deseeded, coarsely chopped
  • 150 ml apple cider vinegar
  • 30 ml olive oil
  • ½ tsp white sugar, or to taste

Method

  • 1
    For fermented chilli sauce, combine chillies and vinegar in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to the boil, then set aside to cool. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for 3-5 days. (see note). Strain, reserving liquid, and process chilli in a high-speed blender with oil and 1½ tsp sea salt flakes, or to taste, until very smooth. Add 1 tbsp reserved liquid to thin sauce slightly. Season to taste with sugar.
  • 2
    Meanwhile, cut octopus into individual arms and trim any excess skin. Combine octopus, garlic, thyme and 400ml oil in a large bowl, cover and refrigerate to marinate (overnight, or up to 2 days).
  • 3
    Preheat oven to 150°C. Enclose octopus, garlic and thyme tightly in a double sheet of foil, then bake on a tray until tender (1½ hours; see note). Cool.
  • 4
    Heat a char-grill pan or barbecue to high. Drizzle octopus with remaining oil, season and grill, turning occasionally, until well charred (8-10 minutes). Slice and serve with fermented chilli sauce, lemon wedges and extra thyme.

Notes

Octopus hands are cleaned, tenderised and packaged as raw tentacles from Fremantle. They are available from quality seafood suppliers. At Una Más, the chilli sauce can take six months to ferment. This is a simplified, but equally delicious version. Octopus can be refrigerated in its cooking liquid at the end of step three up to a day ahead.